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Review: Lobby Hero (Unit 102 Actors Company)

October 23rd, 2014

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LOBBY HERO 3

Lobby Hero, is the first show put on by Unit 102 Actors Company in the newly re-branded venue—The Theatre Machine. Hot on the heels of their intense production of American Buffalo, comes this very funny and occasionally poignant tale of a laid back security guard who just wants to “do the right thing.”

That particular phrasing sounds bland and painfully conventional. It conjures up the sort of slacker-hero worship that pops up frequently in American comedies. A twenty-something, straight,white dude who just doesn’t quite have his act together will inspire himself and others! Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Zombie Prom (The Confidential Musical Theatre Project)

October 22nd, 2014

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The Confidential Musical Theatre Project tackles Zombie Prom in its second Toronto instalment

The Confidential Musical Theatre Project is an innovative new performance concept that recently held its second show in Toronto. You can click here to find out more about the core concept, but it basically boils down to: No group rehearsals before the performance, and keeping the audience in the dark about which show is being performed right up until curtain time.

This time, the play was Zombie Prom – which took the CMTP in a direction that didn’t resonate with me, but I can certainly see why they attempted it.

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Review: Sidekicks & Secret Identities (Monkeyman Productions)

October 22nd, 2014

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Superhero antics take over the stage at Toronto’s Fraser Studios in Sidekicks & Secret Identities

Sidekicks Secret Identitiess - Sean KaufmannUp, up and away! If you’re into comic book conundrums, venture over to Toronto’s Fraser Studios for Monkeyman Productions‘ Sidekicks & Secret Identities.

Our evening about undercover wonders was made up of three stories: Sidekicks by Manda Whitney and Errol Elumir, and two shorter pieces Fortress of Solitude and Super by D.J. Sylvis.

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Review: Uplica (Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie)

October 21st, 2014

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CLC-UPLICA_4 (l-r) Laurence Lemieux, Erin Poole by Kristy Kennedy-U resize

Hip hop infused contemporary dance lit up Toronto’s Citadel in Uplica

Commissioned by Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Uplica is a beautifully choreographed one hour dance show that features two of Toronto’s top dancers, Laurence Lemieux and Erin Poole. It was the choreographers of this show, Apolonia Velasquez and Ofilio Sinbadinho (Gadfly), that captured my attention and piqued my interest to watch the show. Not really knowing what to expect, I went into the theatre with the slightest hunch that I was about to see some very interesting choreography and dancing. And luckily, my hunch was right!

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Cheap Theatre for the Week of October 21st, 2014

October 21st, 2014

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Instead of our typical five-show recommendation, this week’s Cheap Theatre listing is a suggestion to check out the Global Cabaret Festival, which is being put on by Soulpepper. To quote the event site, “the Global Cabaret Festival lineup is composed of SongbooksFeature Performances, and Cabarets, encompassing a wide range of theatrical themes and forms including jazz, pop, opera, musical theatre and the best of classic cabaret standards”. With such a wide variety of styles and performances, there’s bound to be cabarets that appeal to any theatregoer. Check out the performance schedule here. Tickets can be bought online, starting at $23 ($20 for students), with discounts if you buy packages of 3 or 6! Definitely sounds like some good, Cheap Theatre to me!

Play Listings for the Week of October 20th, 2014

October 20th, 2014

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October’s just flying by, isn’t it? Probably because it’s such a busy month for everyone. The theatres of Toronto are no exception – we have an extraordinarily high number of shows in this week’s listings, and are happy to share them with you below. Our Editor, Mike, had a few hard decisions to make – but anything highlighted in red, with two asterisks before it, comes highly recommended by him.

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Review: Evita (Lower Ossington Theatre)

October 18th, 2014

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Toronto’s Lower Ossington Theatre brings Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic Evita to the stage

Evita (playing the Lower Ossington Theatre) has always wobbled slightly. From the very beginning, opponents have criticized it for misrepresenting the life of its subject, presenting her as an aggressive — and heavily corrupt — political operator: an opportunist, an embezzler, an apologist for fascism, and a woman who relied upon “the parts in between her thighs” to make her way in life, all of which have been brought into question by subsequent research. After she’d left the show, having scored her first Tony award, Patti LuPone dished that playing Evita was “the worst experience of my life [...] a part that could only have been written by a man who hates women”.

The LOT does not embrace these criticisms: their production is straight and faithful, with very few moments of ambiguity or self-reflection. And while the show’s fun to watch — the songs include some of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best — the way that director Heather Braaten approached the story reminded me of a student reading a book report of a novel he didn’t particularly enjoy. The plot points are mentioned; the songs are in the right places; but this felt like a recitation, rather than a retelling from someone who’d actually engaged with the material.

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Review: Concord Floral (The Theatre Centre)

October 18th, 2014

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CONCORD FLORAL #3-All

Concord Floral, playing at The Theatre Centre, is engaging theatre that captures life and spark from a young cast

Jordan Tannahill is no stranger to subversion. The award-winning playwright and queer activist creates and hosts all kinds of challenging experimental performances in his small storefront venue Videofag in Kensington Market. But of all the risks he’s taken, Tannahill’s latest play Concord Floral, playing at The Theatre Centre, does something that should really make people nervous: It stars teenagers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Waving is Funny

October 18th, 2014

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wavingisfunny

Waving is Funny, a dance piece on stage at Toronto’s Ralph Thornton Centre, is unfortunately anything but

Tina Fushell’s Waving is Funny, a collaborative movement piece that “began as a joke” before becoming “a very real performance idea” sounds pleasantly kooky. There is something about examining the act of waving that appeals to me, a comedy goldmine just waiting to be explored.

I was curious about the subject matter. How do people wave? What do we look like when we do? How does our environment impact this greeting? And how does this small act relate to other types of waves? The title suggests a wealth of material that could go just about anywhere.

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Review: Marion Bridge (D & T Productions)

October 18th, 2014

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Kirstin Rae Hinton Deanna Palazzo and Tanya Sand in Marion Bridge

D&T Productions presents their debut production of Marion Bridge at Toronto’s re-branded Theatre Machine

Set in Nova Scotia, Marion Bridge is the life-affirming story of what happens when a woman returns home to be with her sisters while their mother is on her deathbed. Written by Daniel MacIvor, this is one of the first plays to be mounted by D&T Productions at Toronto’s re-branded The Theatre Machine.

What I found exceptional about Marion Bridge is the writing and acting. Together, they make for a play that almost anyone can relate to.

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